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Shortage of airplane mechanics impacting aviation industry

Ryan Paulson, the manager of Moorhead Aviation Services, joins over Zoom to share how a shortage of airplane mechanics is affecting the industry. ( More...

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bartmiller 11
Getting mechanic time for my Annual Inspection last month was tough. I’ve been at the same FBO for 25 years, and do around 60% of the work on the Annual. This year, I got only one day of mechanic time during the week. Then had to wait another week to get another day to finish it.

And that’s fast compared to many friends. Add parts delays due to supply chain issues, and being an aircraft owner is so much more challenging in a post Covid era.
linbb 11
Aircraft mechanics are so underpaid and always have been why would any mechanic choose aircraft when auto mechanics have always made more money? Been there done that years back and know some who still are in the trade same deal.

And add the fact that one day an airplane that you worked on crashed and the FAA is at where you work one morning to talk about it. Not fun again been there had it happen know a helicopter mechanic which quit too same reason.
sparkie624 5
Only reason that I am still in it, is that I love working on planes.. Now I work in Corporate.. But Mechanic Pay is still too low, even after recent raises to keep people.
Tim Dyck 1
It’s not just the pay but also the crappy shifts. I have a cousin that used to be an mechanic for a major airline and when he found out what I was making and how I could pretty much pick and choose when and we’e I wanted to work he quit his job and challenged the Diesel Mechanic’s exams. Now he works as a Journeyman and with 5 days on followed by off and makes almost double what he used to.
Sue Holman 3
My husband got his A and P but stayed in auto repair. Made way more $$ owning his own shop. But I know he would have enjoyed working on aircraft. The hassles of union issues and maybe having to move is something he did not have to deal with. My Dad was an airline pilot for 40 years and he truly respected the mechanics, especially back in the day when aircraft was less reliable. They definitely deserve more pay!
zuluzuluzulu -4
there lie the source of the problem….you did 60% of a mechanic’s job. Leaving mechanic only 40% work. The money you save, the mechanic cannot earn.
bartmiller 3
Nah. They are so over worked with such an incredible backlog, they’re working overtime. My work on the plane help some other aircraft get done more quickly.
zuluzuluzulu -3
no, there isnt good money in aircraft maintenance because pilots can do much of the work to save a dime. not saying they shouldnt be able to but who wants to work their asses off because fresh blood isnt joining the craft?

unfortunately for aviation, there arebetter ways to make money fixing things. Plumbers make way more than aircraft mechanics.

not everyone needs to fly, but everyone needs somewhere to go!
sparkie624 7
Working in the industry, I can tell you it is a major issue... I have worked as a Mechanic, Maintenance Controller, Maintenance Planner... There is a serious issue in the amount of mechanics available and it is a real problem... Not to mention, once you get a new mechanic and get them trained, then they go somewhere else...
sparkie624 12
Just a further note... Getting a mechanic is not really that hard... getting one willing to do the work and qualified, is very difficult.
john bramble 2
yep, been at it 40 years, most of the new mechs out of school can`t even change their brakes on the car. then they want top dollar but cant come to work or dont want to learn the product. about 1 out of 10 has the right stuff. there is money out their but nobody in their right mind wants to pay with no value. the ones that have the right stuff make the money and take on the responsibility. But there is a spot in the back shop for the less then valued mechanics.
linbb 2
Last job in my life for 25yrs was a transit coach mechanic was a great property to work for other than a really stupid supervisor they had for a reason none of us could figure out. I loved working there but again dealership mechs were making more than we were at the time.

But went back to find out I could have worked part time due to problems finding anyone qualified eor even wanting to apply for the job.
sparkie624 6
I have been lucky on Supervisor... We had one a long time ago who was an absolute idiot... He was the managers watch dog, and we called him Spike. We were assigned to change a Leading Edge Slat... We went to do it and found it to be the wrong part number... He said to change it and he would sign it off, he said "If it doesn't fit, I'll eat it"... So we started and only about 1 in every 4 or 5 screws would line up. We called a QA Manager (ours was out sick), and we told him what Spike had said... He said, "Get it off of there, and have Spike Eat it".. It just so happened a few weeks earlier, one of the sheet metal guys made some Aluminum Dog Bones for him and had them in his Dog Dish in the Leads off... Once we got the Leading Edge off, someone took it into the Leads Off and put it in "Spikes" Dog Dish and it stayed there for over a month before it was moved out... LOL, Parts even put the Part locations as "Spikes Dog Dish"... I know all about bad supervisors... I have had a few myself.
zuluzuluzulu 4
starting pay for entry level A&P mechanics today is $35000. That was my starting pay with Delta Airlines- in 1986!

In pharma maintenance, stating pay is twice that.

The secret is out. pay matters
srobak 2
THat's only so fair of a complaint to lob. Entry level A&Ps mostly grab wrenches, parts and documentation - and are otherwise used for manual labor in all the shops I've seen. Certainly not much technical or specialized. After 6 to 18 months of teeth cutting - as they begin to hone their skillset - they also hone their salary.
zuluzuluzulu 2
I’m telling you, starting pay for most trades is $25+/hr. many trades, 31/hr. I work with all of the trades. they struggle for workers too. Hence the pay.

Plus the simple benefits of steady schedules and job security far outweighs aircraft maintenance jobs.

If the resume of an ac mech crosses my desk, boom! He/she is hired and they will earn more out of the gate because they are well trained!

I know what I am talking about.
Jim Allen 1
If that’s the case, they’re insane. Why don’t the servicing companies just build maintenance centers in Maquiladora or somewhere else south of the border?
available of certificated and qualified workers. Avaiiton is not like auto repair.
zuluzuluzulu 0
right. and the faa is assuring that.
swanaero1 2
Sait a few years back had an entire class of new mechs go to the Calgary transit company 80+ a year to start, union and pension...... Why would you wrench an airplane for 35/hr?
Jim Allen 1
Actually, this does kind of surprise me given the shift of carrietev to outsourcing maintenance… you think there would be an abundance of qualified A&P mechanics out there. Then again, once it’s out of the airlines hands, they don’t care as long as a bird is ready to go when they need it. I guess they’re too busy buying back their own stock to notice. Let us stare in awe at the almighty power of greed and lawyers.
zuluzuluzulu 0
with outsourcing, you need one a&p mechanic to inpect and sign off work for twenty or more unlicensed mechanics.
To follow the regulations of FAR 145, it is one certificated mechanic per 10 non-certificated.
Jim Allen 1
Thanks... my daughter is getting on a flight tomorrow morning. 1 in 10? I'm sure that's a rule that's bent.
LTerrill 1
GA and corporate aviation are already suffering with the shortage of technicians,
In the next few years more technicians will retire or leave the industry than come in. It is not just the number of technicians it is the level of experience of those technicians which is also going to suffer. And there is less and less facilities for maintenance at airports, an FBO would rather rent hangar space and sell fuel, than bother with space taken up by a maintenance shop. Busy airports are limiting maintenance to working out of Mobil vans and if you don't burn jet fuel your SOL.
rob strong 1
Ditch the unions and let prosperity reign.
I ran into a 'former' A&P mechanic in Detroit working behind the counter at O'Reilly Auto Parts. He told me that he made more behind the counter at an auto parts store than he did working as an A&P mechanic(!) That would explain why there is a shortage of A&P mechanics. And the same is true for Auto Mechanics or Technicians. The business owners whine that 'Nobody wants to work anymore.' For what they pay their employees, these owners wouldn't work for that, either.


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